From Matt Conrad of Virginia Wine Council –
Now that the General Assembly has adjourned sine die (without a fixed date to return), the Virginia Wine Council is grateful for an extremely successful legislative year. HB2071 (Scott) and SB1033 (Hanger), our bills that address the agricultural nature of farm wineries’ activities, have each passed the House and Senate, unanimously. They will now be sent to the Governor for his review.
SB1445 (Deeds), relating to wine-of-the-month clubs, passed the House on a vote of 93 to 4 and will also be sent to the Governor.
HB2523 (Wright), the legislation relating to ABC licenses that was successfully amended at the VWC’s request, has been approved by both the House and the Senate. Because the Senate had further amended the bill, the amendments had to be voted on by the House a second time. HB2523 now enumerates certain crimes that a licensee must make a reasonable effort to prevent on the premises, including manslaughter, terrorism, abduction, driving under the influence, and disorderly conduct. The amendments to HB2523 were unanimously approved by the House and the bill will also be sent to the Governor for his consideration.
Our success during this legislative Session is directly attributable to the good will the industry has built up over many years with the legislature, the Governor, and his administration. We also benefited from strong relationships with the Virginia Agribusiness Council and Virginia Farm Bureau, who share our enthusiasm for a strong and growing wine industry in the Commonwealth. I strongly encourage you to become involved with both organizations over the next year.
During the coming months, I hope to visit as many farm wineries and vineyards as possible to better understand the needs of the industry and to gather ideas for next year. In the interim, I hope that you will reach out to your local senator and delegate to better inform them, as well. If you are uncertain who your legislators are, please use this website to find out.